Bella is "So Big"!

Bella has learned to play the "so big" game. It started this morning when I tried to engage her by saying "so big!" while holding my arms in the air. She giggled and giggled as I did it over and over again. Then I told her to try - and lo and behold, when I squealed "so big!" she threw her arms up!

Now she just walks around throwing her arms up. We're all so in love with the giggles that as soon as her arms go up, someone yells "Bella's so big!" and she laughs and laughs. Here's a peek on the action:

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Cowgirl Bella

We went to Rancho Los Pinos on Thursday for story hour. The program sponsors had kerchiefs and hats for the little ranch-hands, but I knew Bella would NEVER allow it. However, as soon as she saw that the other little people where rocking their cow clothes, Bella was willing to try.

Unfortunately, the one time my child allows a hat to remain on her head, it's the time I forgot my camera. It didn't last too long anyway. By the end of the hour, she had cast the hat to the side and was busy trying to climb onto the picnic tables to stick her grubby hands into other people's cups - just like my regular girl.

I recreated the look when we got home. Here's my cowgirl:

Underneath the cuteness, though, I learned something. Bella is willing to go with the crowd - but only if I give her a crowd to go with. This is another tick mark in the "Pro Daycare" column. Who knows what she'd come home doing or saying after spending a few days with her peers!

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My sweet girl


Shelley Willard took this and a few other simply amazing pictures of Bella this weekend. If you are ever in the Portsmouth, VA area and want some beautiful photos taken - you have to schedule her. She's a wonderful photographer!

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iVillage GTG on Saturday

We met up with a great group of gals and babies from my online playgroup this weekend. All the babies were born in April 2007, which means the day was full of a bunch of babies who act and walk and play just like Bella. Needless to say - we had a blast!

In attendance were Suzanne and her son Isaac (along with older sister Isabel), Kelly and her daughter Alaina, Shelley and her son Gavin (along with her husband Matt), and Courtney and her son Luke.

You can click here to see all the pictures!

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Daddy plays with Bella

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How To Eat Crayfish

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Father's Day Weekend

This sums up Bella's weekend.

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Somebody got a haircut tonight!

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An Excellent Summary Of The Past Few Weeks

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How Bella Spends Her Day

I'm trying to limit the pacifier to the crib and the car (in my head, I said "Nights and Weekends" - hello, I use the cell too much). As you can see in this video, she finds them no matter where I try to hide them. Oh well, at least she doesn't put up much of a fuss when I take them back.

Is it just me, or is there a kid inside of you, too, that wants to climb inside the bouncy house and get to bouncing?

Also, after the camera stopped rolling, she made a mad dash out of the crib. I just wanted her to wave for you, but she took me seriously. We only had a slight meltdown when "bye bye" and "see ya later" didn't mean going outside. It's hot out there!!!!

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Letter to Bella, months twelve and thirteen

Dear Bella,

oneIt feels as though your birthday was a year ago, but really only two months have passed. During those months, tons of changes have happened - including your transformation from baby to toddler.

Let's see: My laptop died and took with it many of your pictures, your birthday invitations, several to-do lists and way too many work files. Luckily, I really only lost a month's worth of material thanks to backing everything up back in March - but still.

drummingThat catastrophe, combined with my need for some R&R afer your vaccintions and birthday party, led me to skip your Month 12 letter. No worries, though. I can tell you what you spent April doing: ESCAPING! Whether shimmying through the dog door, climbing out of your crib or making a mad dash for the neighbor's yard, you spent the entire month exerting your independence. I imagine part of this is because you spent the entire winter in the living room.

IMG_2216Oh, and let's not forget the teeth. You sprouted your first two little beanpoles at eight and nine months but your gum line has been a solid, smooth pink since then. But not any longer. Right after your birthday, we saw the wedge of white appear on the top. That poor tooth took forever to break through but then around early May, not only had it come in, but it's next-door neighbor was ready to bust out, too. You now have four happy little buddies who chomp on anything and everything. It's almost like your body is catching up for lost time because there are two side teeth pushing in right now!

While April was spent exercising your body, you put May to use exercising your mind. It's like you went to sleep one evening a drooly sweet baby and woke up the next morning a clever sweet toddler. Suddenly you were able to sort shapes (the circle and oval are your favorites) and stack rings. You figured out how to unscrew the lid of a squirt bottle full of sunscreen. You lay on your belly to read books, slowing turning the pages and lifting up all the flaps. You push your drum or seat up against the couch so you can climb up.

Strategy, my dear Bella. That should've been your middle name. Whether you're pulling off flower petals or emptying the diaper bag, you have a mission and you find a way to accomplish it. This is not always good news for me. It means I have to keep my foot braced against the oven drawer because otherwise you'll empty all the pans and I must gate you in the living room when I want to load or unload the dishwasher because you'll either try to play with the knives or climb into the machine.

But life has been fun, too. I love watching you do something new, such as waving "Hi!" at people in the grocery store and climbing in and out of your new bouncy castle. We took you out on the boat for Memorial Day and while you seemed to tolerate being on it while it was moving, you loved walking around on it and playing with the lake toys. You wouldn't keep shoes on, so you were confined to laps and the pack & play, but you seemed to enjoy the day outside.

Happy At The Strawberry PatchWell, you enjoy the outside when I let you do your thing. I tried to corral you into an activity by taking you to the Thomas Farms strawberry patch. That was a mistake. You wanted nothing to do with the strawberries but everything to do with the old farm equipment and rusty tools littering the farm area to the side of the patch. Luckily, they had fresh strawberry soft-serve ice cream on hand to help me distract you from the tetanus and other diseases you otherwise would've contracted.

strollerThis summer is already shaping up to be too hot for us to do much outside, so I have lots of fun indoor activities scheduled. We already tried one: the library. You loved crawling around on the chairs in the storytelling area. Of course, you then ran off while I was distracted by Javi. I found you pushing an umbrella stroller complete with baby. That child's mom and I had a good laugh about both how much you love pushing strollers and how strong you must be to take off with one that had a 25-pound child strapped in it.

I also hope to introduce you to the beach, a tumbling class and other children your age. You are fascinated by them in a way I haven't seen yet. You're surrounded by older kids every day, so I'm not surprised that your eyes light up and you can't stop touching them when you meet other toddlers - especially the wobbly new ones.

Yes, the past two months seem like an eternity, and in many ways, it was. But the next few months will bring you a whole new world of experiences. I can't wait to watch your personality blossom even further as you explore all the beauty and wonder of summer.

Love, Mama

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